The main purpose of this study is to investigate the association of math self-efficacy of the students, motivation to learn and socio economic status of the students as related to math achievement at secondary schools. Math self-efficacy is a belief of competency in engaging in mathematical problems. Students with high self-efficacy set challenging goals engage in more effective learning strategy use and persevere when encountered by difficult tasks. As a result, students’ academic self-efficacy and its impact on their school achievement should be a focus of educational research. Schunk and Pajares (2002) have shown that self-efficacy influences the types of tasks chosen, determination with tasks, and expenditure of effort on tasksGetachew and Birhane, (2016,) have tested the theory of self-efficacy in Ethiopian context and showed how an innovative classroom based strategy (promoting students’ mastery experience, exposing students to role model, persuading students the importance of effort and creating favorable attitude towards a subject) influenced self-efficacy belief and academic achievements of students in applied mathematics II. Self-efficacy beliefs determine students’ academic functioning through cognitive, motivational, affective, and decisional making processes.
The cognitive process refers to students thinking in self-enhancing or self-debilitating ways; the motivational aspects includes the motivation students have for their learning and persistence in the face of challenges; the affective domain incorporates emotional aspects of students; and the decision making includes the choices students make in a course of their education for (Bandura,2002). These findings support Bandura?s (1986) claim that perceived self-efficacy can operate as a principal contributor to students? academic progress because, as Bandura (1989a) further asserts, people assume an active role in their motivation and a major influencing factor to motivation is an individual’s perceived self -efficacy. In his social cognitive theory, Bandura argues that both the motivation and achievement (behavioral factors) are related to learners’ socio-demographic characteristics (personal factors), and school context (environmental factors) (Bandura, 1989). The problem is that not much is known about how factors interact and how they could be used in intervention, especially to improve math achievement. Bandura altered the label of his theory from social learning to social “cognitive” both to distance it from prevalent social learning theories of the day and to emphasize that cognition plays a critical role in people’s capability to construct reality, self- regulate, encode information, and perform behaviors.
Figure 1: Social Cognitive theory frame work adapted from Pajares (2002, p.1)